Gonzaga senior Jack Slater could see the play unfold in front of him. The forward charged off the bench on a line change and almost immediately found the puck on his stick courtesy of a pass from his brother, Ridge Slater.
Jack faked to his backhand and went right, firing the puck past Calvert Hall goalie Jake Sabourin. The short-handed second-period goal was the second of the night for top-ranked Gonzaga, which won the Mid-Atlantic Prep Hockey League championship, 6-1, over Calvert Hall. If there were any doubts that Friday was Gonzaga’s night to shine, Slater’s goal that put them to rest.
“My brother had the puck and I knew he was going to get it to me,” Jack said of his breakaway goal. “We weren’t going to lose. We just weren’t going to let it happen.”
The game was the third of the season between Gonzaga and Calvert Hall, and Friday’s installment at The Gardens Ice House in Laurel played out much like the previous two. The Eagles (22-4-1) came into the night having outscored the Cardinals 14-1 in their two prior meetings, and although Calvert Hall managed to keep Gonzaga close early, the Eagles’ depth proved too much as the game wore on. Gonzaga scored three goals in the third period to cement the team’s second championship in the league’s five-year history.
Eagles sophomore Dominik Pettey opened the scoring, beating Sabourin late in the first period. The goal was a welcome sight for the Eagles, who outshot Calvert Hall 15-4 in the first period but needed 14 minutes to get on the board.
Jack Slater had the Cardinals’ goalie beaten early in the period only to have his shot clank off the crossbar. The ricochet, along with a handful of other near-misses in the game’s early going, inspired thoughts of Gonzaga’s Feb. 1 loss against Landon — a game in which the Eagles put more than 40 shots on goal but couldn’t find the back of the net.
“I think everybody would be lying if they were saying that wasn’t going through their head,” junior Bobby Hally said. “We just wanted to keep peppering the goalie and eventually it would come, and it did. It came in a bunch at the end.”
Jack Slater’s two tallies paced the Eagles, who also got goals from Connor Van Hoose, Mackie Wheeler and Jack Sanborn.
Earlier in the night, Good Counsel won the MAPHL A division championship with an 11-6 victory over Loyola Blakefield.
The Falcons did the bulk of their damage in the second period, scoring six goals, three of which came on power plays, to balloon a 2-1 edge into an 8-2 cushion. Good Counsel got four goals from Steven Ralston and two each from Jack Goodwin and Chris Sabate.